Debashish Bhattacharya burst upon the musical scene with his new interpretations of traditional Indian raga music, which he wrote for, and performed on, 22 string slide guitars he designed and built. He inventive playing techniques for these instruments that allowed for both lightning speed and maximum emotional nuances. Accompanied by brother Subhasis, a tabla master, Debashish toured and recorded across the globe. With the formation of his progressive World Music group MODERN INDIA, he introduced his daughter Anandi, a gifted and creative singer who has embraced both traditional and contemporary vocal styles. At age 20, she is now headlining her own shows, with help from father and uncle, and fellow contemporary vocalist Carola Ortiz from Spain.
Anandi Bhattacharya is a child prodigy in a family filled with illustrious musicians and singers. Her father, slide guitar master Debashish Bhattacharya, has been her constant guide, teaching her to hone her skills in understanding music. She inherited the golden voice of her grandmother, whose music grew and was nurtured within the family. Sukanya started training under her aunt Sutapa Bhattacharya at the age of three. She gave her first radio performance at the age of four.
She began training under Vidushi Shubhra Guha at the age of twelve. Her singing is a mixed style of Agra, Patiala and Maihar schooling. Though she is a young singer, born in 1996, she has already been attempting songs from various genres of Indian music, Bollywood music, and popular western numbers. Yet she dreams of imbuing the cultural ethos of India in her presentation of music. She has already started touring with her father and has presented an experimental programme on Tagore’s songs and raga music inter-phase. Her tone and timbre, and her intellect, portend a bright future for this precocious young singer.
Kolkata, India’s Debashish Bhattacharya started learning Indian music from his parents before he learned the alphabet. In his childhood he mastered many Indian classical instrumental styles as well as vocal music from different musical teachers in Calcutta. He became a disciple and student of Brij Bhushan Khabra, the father of Indian classical guitar, for 10 years, and also trained under Ajoy Chakraborty, the eminent Indian vocalist. He has also studied with Ustad Ali Akbar Khan.
As a performer, Debashish gave his first guitar recital at the age of four on the All India Radio, and in a public concert. In his twenties, he evolved a unique style of playing guitar, synthesizing selected features of various other instruments such as the Veena, Sitar, Sarod and Kannur. In 1984, he was awarded the President of India award at the age of 21.
Debashish developed his innovative Hindustani slide guitar after years of research and experience. It consists of a Hofner acoustic F hole guitar, with a total of 22 strings. He added a platform of wood running the length of the guitar's neck, mounted with 17 tuning gears. This piece of wood extends the width of the neck, making room for twelve sympathetic strings, and five supporting strings for additional versatility. Above the 5 normal (sliding melody) strings, there is a pair of ckikari strings, as on a sitar. One of Debashish's innovations was to move them to the treble side of the guitar, which enables far more complex playing, since their rhythmic drones can be played by the fingers, over other melodies simultaneously. Debashish plays this guitar while sitting cross legged, with the guitar held on the lap and played with a small steel bar, metal picks and a celluloid thumb pick.
Debashish is perhaps the greatest slide guitarist in India. He has, both through creating the actual design of the instrument, and through his incredible talent and discipline, elevated the Hindustani slide guitar to be the highest evolution of slide guitar anywhere. Though he is often compared to V.M. Bhatt, there is little basis for comparison, because Debashish's music has far greater musical range, physical dexterity, and emotional depth. To develop his playing, he has undergone decades of disciplined study of Indian vocal technique combined with his instrumental work. Debashish can sing perfectly in parallel with every blindingly fast melody he plays. Possessed of a very open musical mind, Debashish is eager and more than qualified to collaborate and truly blend with musicians from any other country.
Subhasis is a leader of his generation of Indian percussionists. As the younger brother of Debashish, Subhasis grew up steeped in the deep musical background of the Bhattacharya family, learning melody and rhythm from infancy. His father Sri Sunil Bhattacharya taught him tabla and his mother, vocalist Smt. Manjushree Bhattacharya worked with him melodically when he was a toddler.
He started to make his presence felt in the music scene from childhood as a promising tabla player trained by teachers Sri Prabir Bhattacharya and Pt. Shyamal Bose. Now, he is considered to be a master player, and he continues to study with Pandit Anindo Chatterjee, the senior tabla maestro. He has regularly performed in every major Indian music festival, and has recorded four albums with Debashish and seven albums with Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty.
Subhasis first toured outside of India in 1996 with Debashish and Bob Brozman. His skill and flexibility as percussionist on several instruments, rhythm arranger, and vocalist have since been heard on subsequent overseas tours in the USA, Canada, South Africa, Greece, Kuwait, Bangladesh, and Nepal. A leading studio musician in India, he has begun creating and leading large percussion ensembles, and his arranging skills are essential to the music on this album, as an equal participant in its creation. With meticulously tuned hand drums, he played intricate rhythms, plus melodic parts inside the rhythm section. Creating percussion landscapes by playing several instruments on multiple tracks gave Subhashis a sense of liberty, yielding one creative explosion after another.
Singer, clarinetist and composer Carola Ortiz is a new generation of artist, restless and multifaceted. She was born in Terrassa, Spain in 1986, a city linked to jazz. Her mother was involved in the theatre world and her father was a regular bass player at the legendary club Nova Jazz Cava de Terrassa. It was there that she got the chance to hear live international jazz stars from a very young age.
Carola Ortiz has participated in the recordings of more than twenty albums of different genres, including jazz, pop, rock, world, and experimental. She has also played with hundreds of musicians from her own country and from all over the world. She recently traveled in India, where she recorded with Hindustani guitar master, Debashish Bhattacharya, and will be touring North America in 2018 with Debashish, brother Subhasis and daughter Anandi, an extraordinary vocalist in her own right.
Three years ago, during a long stay in New York City, she co-formed a group with original songs and was invited to play by The Groove Collective and The Mingus Orchestra in clubs such as Nublu and The Jazz Standard, among others. She has also performed in different international festivals in Spain, US, UK, Portugal, France, Germany, Colombia, Poland, Italy, India and Algeria.
In 2013 and 2014, she released her first two albums with AxisOrca, alongside the French producer Landy Gana. In 2010, she toured with a jazz trio playing Thelonious Monk tunes with her own lyrics. She has performed twice in the International Jazz Festival of Barcelona, once conducted by Maria Schneider and the other with the improvisation duo LUMMM, with Guillermo Rizzotto. In 2011 she was the resident artist of LEM festival in Barcelona, where she was involved in interdisciplinary experiences combining dance and visual arts. She has also been playing with the Iberian percussion orchestra Coetus touring three times around Europe, and also released an album with the jazz-pop duo Minimal Hits with whom she played in Spain and Colombia. Carola has been a jazz teacher in the renowned school Taller de Músics for 2 years, and now she is touring Spain with music-theater shows for kids, where she also explores her dancing and acting facet.
Carola Ortiz received a classical and jazz higher education. She attended workshops with Luciana Souza, Meredith Monk and Jorge Pardo. She continues to learn from ongoing collaborations in different musical areas: from growing up in jazz clubs playing with her father, playing flamenco with gypsies communities in Spain, traveling from Rio de Janeiro to play in Rodas de Choro, to Istanbul jamming Turkish gipsy tunes with Selim Sesler, and improvising in Berlin’s experimental music scene. Carola loves playing music, composing, improvising, learning new ways to express herself through sharing with other musicians, and she embodies a strong belief that artistic boundaries do not exist.
ANANDI BHATTACHARYA, with father Debashish and uncle Subhasis and Spanish vocalist Carola Ortiz, will be releasing their 1st CD and touring the United States in 2018.Back to Artist Menu